An image from NASA has revealed a distant ‘ghost’ hovering in the cosmos. The image taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope shows a faint, purple nebula spanning across trillions of miles. The nebula, officially known as IC 63, resembles a cloaked but translucent individual, packed full of bright stars.
As such, it has been given the nickname “Ghost Nebula” due to the haunting look.
NASA said: “The brightest stars embedded in nebulae throughout our galaxy pour out a torrent of radiation that eats into vast clouds of hydrogen gas – the raw material for building new stars.
“This etching process sculpts a fantasy landscape where human imagination can see all kinds of shapes and figures.
“This nebula in the constellation of Cassiopeia has flowing veils of gas and dust that have earned it the nickname ‘Ghost Nebula.’
“Officially known as IC 63, this nebula is located 550 light-years away in the constellation Cassiopeia the Queen.”
One of the stars in the nebula is Gamma Cassiopeiae – is a blue-white subgiant variable star which shines a staggering 65,000 times brighter than our Sun.
NASA has said: “Gamma Cassiopeiae is a blue-white subgiant variable star that is surrounded by a gaseous disk.
“This star is 19 times more massive and 65,000 times brighter than our sun.
“It also rotates at the incredible speed of 1 million miles per hour [1.6 million km per hour] – more than 200 times faster than our parent star.
“This frenzied rotation gives it a squashed appearance. The fast rotation causes eruptions of mass from the star into a surrounding disk.
“This mass loss is related to the observed brightness variations.”
Hubble will soon be retired by NASA after providing stunning views of the cosmos for three decades.
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In its place will come the James Webb Space Telescope, which is so powerful it can offer an insight into the early Universe, just 0.3 billion years after the Big Bang to when visible light itself was beginning to form.
NASA has said: “The James Webb Space Telescope (sometimes called JWST or Webb) is an orbiting infrared observatory that will complement and extend the discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope, with longer wavelength coverage and greatly improved sensitivity.
“The longer wavelengths enable Webb to look much closer to the beginning of time and to hunt for the unobserved formation of the first galaxies, as well as to look inside dust clouds where stars and planetary systems are forming today.”
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